US has shot down Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz, says Trump

Harriet Alexander
The President said the drone had threatened the USS Boxer and its crew - REX

US  President Donald Trump said on Thursday that a US warship destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between the two countries.

Mr Trump said the USS Boxer took defensive action after the drone closed to within 1,000 yards of the warship and ignored multiple calls to stand down.

The president called it the latest "hostile" action by Iran and urged other countries to condemn what he says are Iran's attempts to disrupt the freedom of navigation and global commerce in the strategic waterway in the Persian Gulf region.

He said the drone threatened the safety of the American ship and its crew.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, had taken "defensive action" against a drone, but did not mention if the aircraft was Iranian.

Tensions in the Gulf region are high, with fears that the United States and Iran could stumble into war.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javas Zarif, in New York for talks at the UN, said on Thursday that Iran will formally and permanently accept enhanced inspections of its nuclear programme, in exchange for the US lifting sanctions.

Speaking before the downing of the drone was announced, he said that the offer was “a substantial move”.

“It’s not about photo ops. We are interested in substance,” he said. “There are other substantial moves that can be made.”

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif

It is unlikely to be warmly received by the Trump administration, which is currently demanding Iran make a range of sweeping concessions, including cessation of uranium enrichment and support for proxies and allies in the region.

“If they [the Trump administration] are putting their money where their mouth is, they are going to do it,” said Mr Zarif. “They don’t need a photo op. They don’t need a two-page document with a big signature.”

Iran recently shot down a US drone that it said was flying over Iran.

Mr Trump called off a planned retaliatory airstrike at the last minute, citing the number of potential casualties.